This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This meme is being nurtured by Lynn’s Book Blog and this week we are featuring covers with WORDS. I’ve selected Artemis by Andy Weir and linked this post to #Sci Fi Month 2020. See my reviews of The Martian and Artemis.
This hardcover edition was produced by Crown in November 2017. To be honest, I think it’s just dreary. The story is a foot-to-the floor thriller set on the Moon. And with all the black, black, blacketty black going on, I don’t think you’d know it. Worse – in thumbnail both the author and title fonts simply disappear. I think this cover fails on almost every level.
Published in July 2018 by Ballantine, at least this grey effort gives us an idea of the Moon. And though I’m not sure exactly why it’s there, I quite like the orange strip running down the length of the cover. Though perhaps I’m just craving something – anything else, other than GREY.
At least this edition, published by Del Rey in November 2017, is an improvement over the previous miserable offerings. Though I can’t help thinking the girl staring out at us through her space helmet is a not-very-subtle reminder that this is the author of The Martian, given that one of the default covers was Matt Damon was gazing at us. And just in case we missed that allusion, there is lump of blurb telling us. Which has ruined this one for me.
This Russian edition, produced by ACT in December 2017, is more like it! I love this image of the Moon, limned around the edge by the Sun. It is glorious and gives a wonderful pop of colour and excitement. And there is also a cool spaceship in the foreground… While I could have done without the MUST READ docket hanging off the ship exhaust, this is my favourite cover by a long light year.
This Lithuanian edition, published by BALTO leidybos namai in August 2019 is also a better effort than the top two miserable efforts. I like the figure against the craters of the Moon, though the scale and detail is slightly puzzling. And I definitely like the title running down the centre of the cover in red lettering. But which is your favourite?
I loved The Martian and was delighted when I realised that Andy Weir had another book in the works and thrilled when I managed to obtain a Netgalley arc for it. Question is – does Artemis live up to Weir’s stunning debut?
Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent. Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.
The short answer is yes. Oh yes – Artemis has yet another memorably enjoyable protagonist every bit as ingenious and determined as Mark Watney – Jazz is a street-wise moon-girl who plays the odds. She ekes out a precarious living by a series of shady deals under the cover of her lowly job as porter as she needs more money. Lots more money. And it is that need that drives her to make a deal against her better judgement… a deal that trips over into something a whole lot more serious. I’m aware some readers have had a problem with her lack of judgement and maturity, but I feel her poor impulse control is entirely realistic and when we learn the whole story of what went wrong between her and her father, there is also a valid explanation.
Like The Martian, we are charmed into really caring what happens to this lively, irreverent protagonist as she takes us into her confidence and tells us how the domes work, how the society is structured and about her tempestuous relationship with her father. So when it all goes really wrong, we are with her every step of the way, hoping she will prevail. As Weir steadily ups the stakes and increases the pressure – I found this one almost impossible to put down.
Despite the strong character-led nature of the story, there are still plenty of details about life on the Moon for hard science fiction fans. We learn about how the domes were constructed, who initially settled this first moon settlement and what currently powers the economy – all without compromising the pace or the narrative tension. It’s a neat trick to pull off and far harder to achieve than Weir makes it look. If all these geeky details tend to slide past you, my firm advice would be not to skim too much – because some of this stuff has a major impact on the story progression.
So after setting up a precarious situation where our plucky heroine finds herself on the sharp end of the trickiest conundrum – does Weir satisfactorily wrap up the story? Absolutely. We get a gripping conclusion to this plotline, while there are also some dangling tendrils that would give Weir the opportunity to revisit Artemis with the surviving characters. I would love to see him do so. Highly recommended.
Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week’s Can’t Wait offering – Artemis by Andy Weir
#science fiction #adventure #Moon #crime thriller
Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent. Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of Jazz’s problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself – and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even more unlikely than the first.
I loved The Martian – the book, that is, rather than the film which was a disappointment. So I’m very much looking forward to this one – apart from anything else, I’m delighted it features a female protagonist. It is being released on 14th November – so not too long to wait!